Judicial District of New Haven


Dissolution of Marriage; Alimony; Cohabitation; Whether Trial Court, in Denying Plaintiff's Motion to Terminate Alimony, Properly Concluded that Defendant was not Cohabitating with the Woman he was Living with Because the Evidence Failed to Establish that they were Involved in a Romantic or Sexual Relationship. The parties were divorced in 2002. The judgment of dissolution incorporated the parties' written separation agreement, which provided that the plaintiff would pay periodic alimony to the defendant and that the alimony payments would be terminated in the event of the defendant's cohabitation with an unrelated female. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a motion to terminate her alimony obligations on the ground that the defendant was cohabitating with an unrelated female and that they were sharing their living expenses. The trial court denied the motion, finding that although the defendant was, in fact, living with an unrelated female, the evidence failed to establish that they were essentially living together as a married couple or that, at the very least, they were involved in a romantic or sexual relationship. Accordingly, the court concluded that the defendant's living arrangements did not constitute "cohabitation" under the circumstances of this case. In this appeal, the plaintiff argues that in considering her motion to terminate alimony, the court improperly neglected to apply General Statutes 46b-86 (b), which provides that a court may modify an award of periodic alimony where the recipient is "living with another person," and the living arrangements have altered the financial needs of the recipient. She maintains that the statute was applicable here even though the separation agreement did not specifically refer to it. She also contends that the court improperly required her to prove that the defendant was involved in a romantic or sexual relationship with the woman he was living with in order to establish that he was cohabitating with her.